News

  • Thursday, October 20, 2016 2:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Friends HQ House Party

    Monday, October 24, 2016  Noon to 2:00 PM

    538 N. Shiawassee Street Corunna, MI

    RSVP at (989) 723-9062 or Info@ShiawasseeRiver.org

    Maybe you already heard the great news at the Wine Tasting Celebration, but the Friends have taken a major step forward.  We purchased a house next to the dam in Corunna, and will be converting it into our office and meeting place, complete with storage space and amazing public visibility.


    We are just now beginning to assess and make plans to find the best use of the building and the property.  If you have building trades skills and are interested in helping, please join us at a special meeting at the new house to see the potential for yourself and do some brainstorming with us.

    The other part of the great news is that the Friends are partnering with the City of Corunna to help them with the restoration of the Shiawassee River at the dam site. We supported the City's work with state and federal agencies to assess options for the deteriorating, dangerous dam. The City decided to remove the dam and was awarded several grants to help this process (read more here). Corunna is also making plans for recreational improvements at and around the site, including a walkway along the river. The Friends ownership of property near the dam will help make this walkway possible. 

    A light lunch and refreshments will be provided.


  • Tuesday, October 18, 2016 2:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jon Allan, Director of the Office of the Great Lakes, thanked the Friends for their exemplary work with volunteer water quality monitoring.

    Way to go Stream Teams!

    The Friends were honored to host Director Allan for the release of the final portion of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Water Strategy. The State Water Strategy focuses on monitoring systems, community engagement, and shared governance.

    "Water literacy, community engagement, and integrated monitoring systems will help create a vision of healthier ecosystems, improved resource management, and increasing stewardship of Michigan’s globally unique water resources.”  

    The Water Strategy is a 30-year plan for Michiganders to protect, manage, and enhance Michigan’s water resources for current and future generations. The Strategy identifies key actions for actors at many levels to promote healthy water resources. It is organized around nine goals and outcomes designed to ensure the viability and sustainability of Michigan’s water resources over time, placing Michigan on a path to achieving its water vision in a way the that builds economic capacity while sustaining ecological integrity of this globally-significant resource. 

    As a member and supporter of the Friends of the Shiawassee River, you know that Michigan is surrounded by 20% of the world's fresh surface water, and with that comes a deep ethical obligation to be good and thoughtful stewards of this global treasure. Ensuring the health of our water resources for generations to come depends on creating a culture of stewardship and pursuing lifelong education about water. Just like every drop of water matters, every effort does too. Thank you for all you do to Care for, Share in and Enjoy our treasured river.  

    CLICK HERE to read more about the Water Strategy


  • Wednesday, September 14, 2016 2:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)



    By TIM RATH, Argus-Press Staff Writer

    Posted with permission from author

    CORUNNA — This week, Keith Johnson will put on his waders and do what he’s done every summer since 1969: help clean up an area he considers home.

    The Friends of the Shiawassee River organization is scheduled to host its 21st Annual River Cleanup Saturday, but Johnson has been involved in volunteering to beautify the area much longer than the event has been around.

    Click here to read more about the 2016 River Cleanup

    For Johnson, who served as mayor of Corunna in the 1980s and has been a part of “just about every board in the city that you can imagine,” the effort is about friendship and community — giving back to an area that has given back to him.

    “I feel like I owe this community something,” said Johnson, 73, a Corunna High School graduate. “This is home.”

    Johnson’s interest in serving the community was actually sparked several thousand miles away, in Vietnam, where he served as a sergeant in the 1st Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army in the mid-1960s. At the time, he said, the general of his outfit had a pet project of rebuilding refugee villages there.

    “They’d get there and swarm the place full of ’copters,” Johnson said. “Move ’em out and move ’em in in one day. It was about saving lives.”

    But what the outfit offered in speed and efficiency, it lacked in basic supplies necessary for the war-torn populace it was helping. Johnson’s general went to his outfit to appeal for help from Americans at home.

    “I asked my wife, Diane, to send over some clothes, and she said that while she could, the cost was outlandish,” Johnson said. “So I had her talk to Blair Woodman, who was the state rep for this area at the time.

    “He took that project by the horns. People in Corunna organized basketball games and everything you could imagine to raise money for clothes, and they ended up getting something like 10,000 pounds of clothes to send over ... We had people in that outfit from Detroit, Los Angeles, New York ... Corunna raised more than any of them.

    “The general called me after and said, I don’t know where Corunna is, but when I retire, I’d like to go there ... I thought that was a great thing the community did.

    “Remember, the war was not popular in this country at the time. So, when I came back, I got involved in the Jaycees right away, because I wanted to give back.”

    The local Jaycees, which according to Johnson once totaled about 180 members, has since folded. It was a leadership training organization for people between 18 and 40. Such able-bodied, eager to help young people were exactly who local attorney James Miner had hoped to recruit for his cause when Johnson attended a meeting in 1969.

    “He said he needed some help, because he wanted to turn the river from what it used to be ... James Oliver Curwood wrote that it was a cesspool ... into the doorway of the community,” Johnson said.

    “He wanted to get easements and clean the area and build a trail between Owosso and Corunna. All that we thought at the time was that he was very passionate and knowledgeable, so we figured we would help out.”

    Johnson recalled the first time he went out to the Gould Street bridge area with Miner and a friend.

    On a hot summer day, hacking away at overgrowth, he was reminded of his time in Vietnam. All the while, in the background as they walked, Miner was vigorously discussing his plans for what would later become the James S. Miner Riverwalk.

    “Jim said, at one point, ‘Alright, it’s time for a break. Here, sit on this log,’” Johnson said. “And then, he said, pretending he was aghast, ‘Would you look at that? Someone has dumped a cooler right here on the river. What a shame.’

    “Then, he opened the cooler. There was beer and ice inside. I guess Jim had put it there before we started. That’s when we knew, not only was he passionate and knowledgeable, but he appreciated us. And after that, he was my friend for the rest of his life.”

    Johnson has participated in river cleanup activities ever since. When the Friends of the Shiawassee River group was formed in the 1990s, Johnson immediately became involved. Since then, executive director Lauri Elbing said, he has been a model volunteer.

    “I think Keith has that conservation ethic,” Elbing said. “He puts his elbow grease where his heart is. He gets in the dirt, so to speak — picking up garbage, picking up tires and getting in the trenches. To do so, even now at his age, it’s something to see.”

    Unfortunately, Johnson said, his efforts might not last much longer due to health and other issues.

    “In Ecclesiastes they say, ‘To all things a season.’ I think it’s almost that time for me,” he said. “Diane has been telling me, ‘You’re going to die in that river.’ And I just tell her, that’s OK. They’ll get me at the next river cleanup.”

    But he is passing his spirit on to the next generation, having recruited his high-school aged granddaughter to volunteer with him Saturday.

    “My generation pretty much screwed up the river — yours has a lot of work to do. But I’ve enjoyed looking at that river my whole life, and I want my grandchildren, as well as their grandchildren, to be able to enjoy it for as long as I have,” he said.

  • Saturday, July 30, 2016 12:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We had a fabulous party with over 40 Friends at Mitchell Amphitheater in Owosso on Saturday to celebrate the people, the friendships and all the work we have accomplished together.

    Thank you so much to the Cook Family Foundation - Shiawassee County Nonprofit Capacity Building Program for sponsoring the Friends 20th Birthday Party! This program has helped our family of nonprofits become strong, stable and more collaborative, including the Friends of the Shiawassee River.  As we deepen our partnerships with communities, businesses, schools and organizations along the full 120 mile length of the river - from the headwaters in Holly to Chesaning and St. Charles -  NOW is a great time to become a member of the Friends. 

    Membership with Friends of the Shiawassee River supports our work to sustain and improve a healthy clean river, promote local communities' economic and recreation connections to the river, and share information, science and stewardship opportunities. Become a member today and join our fun and growing team of awesome Friends! 

    Click here to Become a Member

    CLICK HERE to VOLUNTEER SATURDAY, AUGUST 13th, for the 21st Annual River Cleanup & Volunteer Appreciation Lunch

    All Cleanup Volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and lunch!

    Thunderstorms and high water forced the postponement (to August 13) of the Annual Cleanup, but over 40 Friends showed up to celebrate and enjoy a piece of delicious birthday cake.

    LIKE us on Facebook! 

    If you were at the Birthday Party, please tag yourself and your friends on our 20th Birthday Party Facebook Album.


  • Tuesday, July 05, 2016 12:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    People who love the Shiawassee River have much to celebrate in July. The Friends of the Shiawassee River (Friends) is turning 20 years old and for an unprecedented ninth consecutive year, the Shiawassee County Health Department and the Friends have received grant funding from the Department of Environmental Quality and the Great Lakes Commission Volunteer River, Stream and Creek Cleanup program. The funds will support ongoing efforts to improve the health of the Shiawassee River and its surrounding natural resources through events such as the annual Shiawassee River Cleanup and tire collection. Everyone interested in pitching in on the River Cleanup is welcome to join the fun. All Cleanup volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and lunch. Register to volunteer at ShiawasseeRiver.org/calendar

     2016 Annual Shiawassee River Cleanup

    9:00 am to 12:00 pm

    Volunteers meet at one of the following locations by 9:00 am.  Click on the link to Register:

    1. Corunna: McCurdy Park

    2. Owosso: Oakwood Park at Oakwood Avenue Bridge (behind baseball fields)

    NOTE: The Cleanup will be rescheduled for August 13th in the event of inclement weather. 

    Cleanup Volunteer Appreciation Lunch & Friends 20th Birthday Celebration

    12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

    Mitchell Amphitheater

    219 N Water Street, Owosso, MI 48867

    (located on the grounds of Owosso Middle School)

    All Cleanup Volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and lunch.

     The 2016 Annual Cleanup is generously supported by the following sponsors: 

     J & S Tire (Owosso)
    Oster Manufacturing Company (Owosso)
    Johnny V’s Smokehouse (Corunna)
    Owosso Graphic Arts
    Matador’s Pizza (Byron)
    Mancino’s (Owosso)
    Cheff’s Canoe Rental (Vernon)
    The Bagelman (Owosso)
    Shiawassee County Health Department
    Waste Management
    Great Lakes Commission

    THANK YOU! 


  • Wednesday, June 29, 2016 2:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    People who love the Shiawassee River have much to celebrate in July. The Friends of the Shiawassee River (Friends) is turning 20 years old and for an unprecedented ninth consecutive year, the Shiawassee County Health Department and the Friends have received grant funding from the Department of Environmental Quality and the Great Lakes Commission Volunteer River, Stream and Creek Cleanup program. The funds will support ongoing efforts to improve the health of the Shiawassee River and its surrounding natural resources through events such as the annual Shiawassee River Cleanup and tire collection. Everyone interested in pitching in on the River Cleanup is welcome to join the fun. All Cleanup volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and lunch. Register to volunteer at ShiawasseeRiver.org/calendar

     2016 Annual Shiawassee River Cleanup

    9:00 am to 12:00 pm

    Volunteers meet at one of the following locations by 9:00 am.  Click on the link to Register:

    1. Corunna: McCurdy Park

    2. Owosso: Oakwood Park at Oakwood Avenue Bridge (behind baseball fields)

    NOTE: The Cleanup will be rescheduled for August 13th in the event of inclement weather.

    Cleanup Volunteer Appreciation Lunch & Friends 20th Birthday Celebration

    12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

    Mitchell Amphitheater

    219 N Water Street, Owosso, MI 48867

    (located on the grounds of Owosso Middle School)

    All Cleanup Volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and lunch.

     

     The 2016 Annual Cleanup is generously supported by the following sponsors: 

     J & S Tire (Owosso)
    Oster Manufacturing Company (Owosso)
    Johnny V’s Smokehouse (Corunna)
    Owosso Graphic Arts
    Matador’s Pizza (Byron)
    Mancino’s (Owosso)
    Cheff’s Canoe Rental (Vernon)
    The Bagelman (Owosso)
    Shiawassee County Health Department
    Waste Management
    Great Lakes Commission

    THANK YOU! 


  • Thursday, May 26, 2016 11:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    May 26, 2016, Owosso, MI - The Friends of the Shiawassee River have launched a fundraising raffle for a 13’ 5” Hurricane Sojourn 135 Kayak to informally kick off the paddling season.  The kayak is from The Power of Water in Lansing and is valued at over $1,400.  Funds generated by the raffle will be used by the Friends to host water quality monitoring stream teams, an annual river clean-up, paddling events, and other Friends’ efforts.  Winners will be announced at the Friends’ annual wine-tasting event, to be held on Thursday, September 15th at the Owosso Country Club. 

    The raffle is being sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and tickets go on sale at the Owosso Farmers Market this Saturday and many other locations

    "People are rediscovering the beauty of the Shiawassee River all the time, and if you haven't experienced it from a kayak or canoe, I hope you'll put it on your short list this summer," said Lauri Elbing, Executive Director of the Friends. "There is a very good reason why the Shiawassee River is #7 on a list of the Top 11 Water Trails in Michigan. Come see for yourself."

    "It was the best five-bucks I ever spent!" 

    Steve Eastman, 2015 Kayak Raffle Winner


  • Tuesday, May 17, 2016 11:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Saturday, May 21st at 9:00 am

    Memorial Healthcare Main Campus – West of the Emergency Department Entrance

    The public is encouraged to join Memorial Healthcare staff and volunteers, Friends of the River, and interns from the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and University of Michigan’s Nichols Arboretum for this day of planting and education about native plants and ecological restoration. 

    Not only will this be a family-friendly, fun day, but participants will actually create a woodland garden on the grounds of the hospital! And the creation of the garden is actually just a part of Memorial Healthcare’s plans. Nature truly has a healing effect for all of us. Studies have shown that patients with a view of natural areas heal faster than those without such a view.

    Click here to RSVP for the event!


  • Sunday, May 15, 2016 11:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     Owosso, MI - The Friends of the Shiawassee River (Friends) are thrilled to announce two upcoming events which highlight the river, its connection to the health and enjoyment of the people who live here, and the ecological importance of this local treasure to the community. The public is invited to participate in both of these events.

    Adopt-A-River Sign Unveiling scheduled for Monday, May 16th at 2 pm

    King Street Woods Planting Day scheduled for Saturday, May 21st at 9 am

    The Dr. John and Thora MacGregor Trust, honoring the memory of the local couple, and Memorial Healthcare are the two newest sponsors of the Friends’ Adopt-A-River initiative. This initiative supports the Friends’ efforts to clean and monitor stretches of the watershed. A sign celebrating these sponsorships will be unveiled on Monday, May 16th at 2 pm, north of Memorial’s outside entrance to the cafeteria. Other Adopt-A-River sponsors include NCG Cinema (near the Cinema) and the Owosso Rotary (at Harmon Patridge Park).

    Then, on Saturday, May 21st, the public is welcomed and encouraged to join Memorial Healthcare staff and volunteers, Friends of the River, and interns from the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and University of Michigan’s Nichols Arboretum for this day of planting and education about native plants and ecological restoration.  Not only will this be a family-friendly, fun day, but participants will actually create a woodland garden on the grounds of the hospital! 


  • Wednesday, April 27, 2016 11:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    April 27, 2016, Owosso, MI - The Friends of the Shiawassee River joined members of the Owosso Rotary Club in Harmon Patridge Park this afternoon to unveil the latest Adopt-A-River sign.  The Owosso Rotary became the latest sponsor of the Friends’ Adopt-A-River program, which offers businesses and non-profit service organizations the opportunity to help care for specific stretches of the Shiawassee River in collaboration with the Friends. 

    "The Owosso Rotary Club is proud to support the work of the Friends,” said Owosso Rotary President Paul Cook. “The Shiawassee River is a key asset for both our community and the region."

    “The Friends organization is so appreciative of the continued support of the Owosso Rotarians,” added Lauri Elbing, the Friends’ Executive Director.  “In addition to their generous financial gift through the Adopt-A-River program, they have also devoted many hours of volunteer service caring for the River.  Their members have been a part of our annual River Clean-Up every year since the very first one twenty years ago – specifically targeting the Harmon Patridge section each of those years.”


Contact Us:

Phone: (989) 723-9062
Email: info@shiawasseeriver.org

Mailing Address:

Friends of the Shiawassee River
PO Box 402
Owosso, MI  48867

Office Address:

Friends of the Shiawassee River
538 N Shiawassee Street
Corunna, MI  48817

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